Fifty years ago today, Major League Baseball adopted a rules change for the American League that led by increments to the 10th-inning-runner rule adopted last season:
On January 11, 1973, the owners of America’s 24 major league baseball teams vote to allow teams in the American League to use a “designated pinch-hitter” who could bat for the pitcher while still allowing the pitcher to stay in the game.
The idea of adding a player to the baseball lineup to bat for the pitcher had been suggested as early as 1906 by revered manager Connie Mack. In 1928, John Heydler, president of the National League, revived the issue, but the rule was rejected by the AL management.
The NL resisted the change, and for the first time in history, the two leagues would play using different rules. Though it initially began as a three-year experiment, it would be permanently adopted by the AL and later by most amateur and minor league teams.
Major League Baseball continues to believe that more runs means more money, even though the appeal of baseball has always been as a pastime. But what do I know? I was a Cubs fan for 40 years.